FISHING IN GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA
Its no wonder that Gila County is the ‘prize catch’ for Arizona anglers: with state records for bass, crappie and catfish caught in our cobalt-blue lakes, cooler summertime temperatures, and lakeside landscape that offers a choice of Sonoran Desert saguaros - or the shade of towering Ponderosa Pine forests. With a few easy clicks on this website you’ll find lakefront camping that accommodates your luxurious 5th wheel, or private sites preferred by simpler tent-campers.
Payson, AZ is the heart of Mogollon Rim country - an outdoor paradise beckoning anglers. Rim Country lakes are within easy and scenic drives from Payson; elevations here range from about 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet, waters usually surrounded by forests of pine, cedar and oak. Most lakes in the Payson area prohibit gas-powered motorboats. For a pristine backcountry lake, choose those which must be accessed via short hikes (no trucks, quads or side-by-sides) that invite a moderate walk through breathtaking landscapes. Lakes such as these lure devout fisherman with trout, warm-water sportfish - and verdant camping spots.
Roosevelt Lake is central to Gila County, and our most popular fishing destination, with robust fish populations that support seasonal tournaments for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass and Crappie. Popular all year-round with anglers seeking sunfish, or either catfish species (‘Channel Cats’ and Flatheads), Roosevelt’s world-class fishery gives Gila County braggin’ rights with professional tournaments such as the Wild West Bass Trail Western Team Championship.
Nearly as famous is San Carlos Lake, formed by the confluence of two rivers impounded by Coolidge Dam on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. State records have been pulled from San Carlos Lake, but fluctuating levels have made access unreliable - make sure to contact the Apache Recreation and Wildlife Department for up-to-date lake conditions and boat ramp access. Tribal permits are required to fish, camp and hike on the reservation. For more info on permits click here. Fewer anglers venture to the waters of Talkalai Lake, Seneca, Point of Pines Lake, or numerous livestock ponds on the reservation.
Whether you prefer waters that meet steep canyon walls or mountain lakes surrounded by forests of pine, you will discover how great fishing is in Gila County, Arizona.
SF: Sun Fish
BC: Black Crappie
Fish Species Legend:
AT: Apache Trout
RB: Rainbow Trout
FC: Flathead Catfish
LMB: Largemouth Bass
SMB: Smallmouth Bass
BT: Brown Trout
Red Rock District
Pleasant Valley District
Tonto Basin District
Fish Species In Gila County
These species of fish are the most commonly caught fish in Gila County.